3 cups bread flour, plus more for the work surface
About 1 1/2 cups roughly chopped pitted olives See note below
3/4 teaspoon instant or other active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups cool (55 to 65 F water
Wheat bran, cornmeal, or additional flour, for dusting
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, chopped
olives, and yeast.
Add the water and, using a wooden spoon or your
hand, mix until you have a wet, sticky dough,
about 30 seconds.
Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature
until the surface is dotted with bubbles and the
dough has more than doubled in size, 12 to 18
When the first rise is complete, generously dust a
work surface with flour. Use a bowl scraper or
rubber spatula to scrape the dough out of the bowl
in one piece. Using lightly floured hands or a
bowl scraper or spatula, lift the edges of the
dough in toward the center. Nudge and tuck in the
edges of the dough to make it round.
Place a clean towel on your work surface and
generously dust it with wheat bran, cornmeal, or
flour. Gently place the dough on the towel, seam
side down. If the dough seems sticky, dust the top
lightly with a little more wheat bran, cornmeal,
Fold the ends of the towel loosely over the dough
to cover it and place it in a warm, draft-free spot
to rise for 1 to 2 hours. The dough is ready when
it is almost doubled. If you gently poke it with
your finger, it should hold the impression. If it
springs back, let it rise for another 15 minutes.
Half an hour before the end of the second rise,
preheat the oven to 475°F (245°C) and adjust the
rack to the lower third of the oven. Place a
covered 4 1/2- to 5 1/2-quart heavy pot in the
center of the rack to warm it.
Using pot holders, carefully remove the preheated
pot from the oven and uncover it. Unfold the towel
and quickly but gently invert the dough into the
pot, seam side up. (Use caution—the pot will be
very, very hot). Cover the pot and bake for 30
Remove the lid and continue baking until the olive
bread is a deep chestnut color but not burnt, 15
to 30 minutes more. Use a heatproof spatula or pot
holders to gently lift the bread from the pot and
place it on a wire rack to cool completely before
For this no-knead olive bread recipe, any pitted
olive will yield something worth eating. (You
don’t want to go to the trouble of pitting them
yourself, because it is tedious and the results
will not be as neat.) But what Jim Lahey turns to
most often are pitted kalamata olives soaked in a
pure salt brine—nothing else, just salt. A
commonly available kalamata that I’m very fond of
is made by Divina and can be found at many
supermarkets and gourmet stores.
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